NCRA members gear up for 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week

Cindy L. Isaacsen, RPR

Nationwide, NCRA members are beginning to share what they plan to do to celebrate 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week Feb. 9-16. From securing official proclamations to hosting Veterans History Project events to participating in career fairs, the activity that will mark the seventh year of this national, week-long event is expected to top that of previous years.

“Court Reporting & Captioning Week is one of my favorite celebrations of our profession. It provides a wonderful opportunity for us to unite across the nation and let us showcase together not only the importance of what we do but also the aspects that make careers in court reporting and captioning so rewarding. Our stories are compelling and need to be shared with the public,” said Cindy L. Isaacsen, RPR, an official court reporter from Shawnee, Kan., and an NCRA Director.

“Whether in the courtroom, the deposition room, the boardroom, the broadcast arena, or in providing access to important information to the deaf and hard of hearing community, the services we provide are vital to those who we serve,” added Isaacsen, who tied for first place in the 2018 National Committee of State Associations (NCSA) Challenge that recognizes members’ commitments to celebrating.

The NCSA State Challenge is a friendly contest among state associations and individual NCRA members to spread the word about the benefits of a career in court reporting or captioning. The 2019 NCSA State Challenge marks the fifth year the gauntlet has been thrown down. Winners will receive a variety of prizes ranging from complimentary NCRA event registrations to vouchers for continuing education.

This year, NCRA has issued its own challenge as well that calls on all state affiliates to help celebrate this year’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week by securing an official proclamation recognizing the week by their state governor or a state lawmaker. States that submit a copy of their official state proclamation to pr@ncra.org will be entered into a drawing to win one free 2019 Convention & Expo registration.

A downloadable sample proclamation is available on NCRA’s Court Reporting & Captioning resource page.

Below is a sneak peak of how some state associations are planning to celebrate the week:

The Illinois Court Reporters Association has already submitted its request to the state’s governor for an official proclamation recognizing 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week. For more information, visit ilcra.org.

The Iowa Court Reporters Association also has its proclamation set up with the governor in that state and expects to have an official presentation the week before the 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week. For more information, visit icra.org.

Members of the Mississippi Court Reporters Association plan to head to the state capitol on Feb. 12 to meet with lawmakers and showcase their skills as well as discuss some of the challenges the court reporting and captioning professions face. For more information, visit mscra.com.

The New York State Court Reporters Association (NYSCRA) is hosting Bagels, Lox & Camaraderie, its first ever all kosher event to celebrate the week. NYSCRA President Nancy Silberger, an official court reporter from Lynbrook, N.Y., said the event is important for the association and for its Sabbath observer members who are usually unable to attend such events. The event is being held at the Jewish Children’s Museum in Brooklyn, N.Y., on Feb. 17 from 5 to 8 p.m. Those interested in attending can learn more or RSVP at nyscra.org.

In Rochester, N.Y., NCRA members will host a happy hour with the legal community on Feb. 13, from 5 – 7 p.m. at TRATA. The networking event brings together official and freelance reporters, students, judges, lawyers and the law enforcement community to celebrate the court reporting and captioning professions. For more information, contact NCRA Director Meredith Bonn, RPR, at mereditha.bonn@gmail.com.

The Texas Court Reporters Association will hold its Court Reporter at the Capitol Day on Feb. 12. During the week, members will also be sporting “Ask Me About Court Reporting” T-shirts and posting on social media. For more information, visit tcra.com.

For additional resources, visit NCRA’s Court Reporting & Captioning Week resources page at NCRA.org/home/events. No matter how you celebrate 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Week, be sure to share your stories and photos with NCRA’s Communications Team at pr@ncra.org.

Last chance to nominate a member to serve on the Board of Directors

Don’t miss your chance to nominate someone or yourself to serve on NCRA’s Board of Directors. Serving on the Board is a great way to give back to the profession from which you have gained so much and help steer the Association into the future. Hurry, the deadline to declare your candidacy or submit a recommendation to boardnominations@ncra.org is Jan. 18.

The Board of Directors represents the wide diversity of the NCRA membership through its nomination and election of Officers and Directors. This diversity of perspective, background, and thought includes both the variety of professions members engage in – captioner, educator, firm owner, freelancer, and official – and the cultural, socioeconomic, race, gender, and other differences that give us our unique perspectives. The Nominating Committee will consider nominations that reflect this broad spectrum of experience.

When recommending yourself or someone else for Board service, please review the list below which contains some of the criteria the Nominating Committee will take into consideration:

  • Active NCRA member
  • Altruistic
  • NCRA committee/task force work experience
  • Leadership qualities and experience
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Commitment to NCRA growth and sustainability
  • Professionalism

Candidates should exemplify the qualities of leadership in the court reporting and captioning professions. In your recommendation, please include why you think the candidate should serve on the NCRA Board. Do not hesitate to nominate yourself.

NCRA is the premier organization representing the court reporting and captioning professions. Its Directors and Officers work together to steer the organization toward a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies, as well as providing strategic guidance to ensure NCRA provides the necessary resources for success.

Article III – Membership, Section 9 c) states, “Only Registered Members who are verbatim stenographic reporters or Retired Members and Retired Lifetime Members who have been verbatim stenographic reporters or Honorary Members who have been verbatim stenographic reporters shall be eligible to hold an elective office of the Association.”

Remember, declare your candidacy or submit recommendations to boardnominations@ncra.org by Jan. 18, 2019. As a courtesy, please contact your candidate directly prior to submitting his or her name.

Nominations for NCRA Board of Directors sought

Serving on the NCRA Board of Directors is an excellent opportunity to use your leadership skills to help advance the premier organization that continues to empower the court reporting and captioning professions. As a Director, you will serve with others as fiduciaries to steer the organization towards a sustainable future by adopting sound, ethical, and legal governance and financial management policies as well as by making sure NCRA has adequate resources to advance its mission.

Declare your candidacy or submit recommendations to boardnominations@ncra.org by Jan. 18, 2019. As a courtesy, please contact your candidate directly prior to submitting his or her name.

A Web-based, no-obligation orientation will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 9, for anyone interested in seeking future Board service. This briefing will help you gain a better understanding of the process and expectations of serving on the Board. To sign-up for the Webinar, please click here.

Letter from the President: Moving forward in 2019

By Sue Terry

It’s a great new day at NCRA! I want to communicate with you some recent changes in the leadership of your organization.

As previously announced via social media and email to you, our members, I’m pleased to announce the return of Dave Wenhold, CAE, as NCRA’s Interim CEO & Executive Director and lobbyist. Jeffrey Altman of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston has also returned to serve as NCRA general counsel. Both bring forward-looking vision and vast institutional knowledge, as well as a historical background of the culture of our Association that can serve us all as we bring our membership into the future.

I’m also pleased to announce the four new Board members who stepped up at a moment’s notice to fill the recently vacated Board positions: Jason Meadors, FAPR, RPR, CRR, CRC, of Fort Collins, Colo.; Sarah Nageotte, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, of Jefferson, Ohio; Brooke Ryan, RPR, of Sacramento, Calif.; and Heidi Thomas, FAPR, RDR, CRR, CRC, of Acworth, Ga. They represent teamwork and diversity of opinion with unwavering respect for the principle that they are endlessly committed to the mission of NCRA and protection of our profession.

NCRA is grateful for your continued loyalty and support and understands that membership is a choice we all make. I’ve been honored to be able to represent your interests and will always have you, the member, in mind when decisions are made that affect your future and the health of the profession. All the best for 2019!

Mark your calendars with these exciting opportunities

Take a few minutes to mark these important dates on your calendars to keep on track with your professional goals through 2019. NCRA offers opportunities to earn CEUs in a variety of ways, from certification to webinars to live events. NCRA is your one-stop shop for your educational needs, whether you are working toward your next certification, your cycle-ending date, or another career goal.

Keep in mind that NCRA members can earn PDCs by passing the skills or written portion of certain tests, such as the RMR, RDR, CRR, or CLVS Exams.

Here is a short selection of dates and events (dates are subject to change):

Because of how important certification is to the profession, NCRA has designated May as “Celebrate Certification” Month. We celebrate all NCRA members as they show pride in the certifications they have earned, are working to earn, or are intending to earn. The month-long campaign is also designed to help encourage those who haven’t considered earning one of the Association’s many nationally recognized certifications to rethink their decision.

Court Reporting & Captioning Week (Feb. 9-16), Memorial Day (May 30), Flag Day (June 14), the Fourth of July, and Veterans Day (Nov. 11) are also all good opportunities to schedule Veterans History Project Days to earn PDCs, although members and students are invited to participate throughout the year. And don’t forget that online skills testing is available year-round.

In addition, NCRA is planning webinars throughout the year, which will be announced in the JCR Weekly and on the NCRA Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages as more information becomes available.

Watch for more information in the JCR, in the JCR Weekly, and on TheJCR.com for registration, deadlines, and other ideas to earn continuing education.

Nine things to do before you say goodbye to 2018

Whether you’re trying to get a few last things done before the end of the year or you’re ready for 2019, here are a few things that you can do to get a jump-start on your career in 2019.

  1. If you have only five minutes, make sure your email address and your mailing address are up-to-date in your NCRA profile. NCRA wants to make sure that your information is complete and accurate for the online and print NCRA Sourcebook and also that you are receiving any newsletters and publications that are a part of your member benefits.
  2. While you’re there, check to be sure you’ve renewed your membership.
  3. Update your resume and make sure to include your membership in professional organizations, your latest work experience, and any new certifications you’ve earned this year.
  4. Take some of your down time to earn credits through NCRA’s e-seminars sessions. (Oh, and don’t forget to add those to your resume when you’ve finished earning those credits!)
  5. Has the end of the year got you remembering a special person who inspired you by all he or she has done for the court reporting or captioning professions? Start collecting information so that you are prepared to nominate this person for NCRA’s Distinguished Service Award. The March 19 deadline may seem far off right now, but ask for help now so that you can get all the pieces of information lined up for when you need it.
  6. If you’re ready to make 2019 the year you take your business to the next level, register now for Business Summit. Not only will Mike Miller, FAPR, RDR, CRR, be there to show you how to move your court reporting business into the 21st century, but you will learn why networking is so important to growing your business. If you attend, be sure to make plans to attend the stellar networking events at the NCRA Business Summit.
  7. If leadership is more your thing, consider whether you want to nominate yourself or a colleague for a position on NCRA’s Board of Directors. An informational online meeting will be held on Jan. 9, and nominations are due by Jan. 18. Or get your feet wet by planning to attend the NCRA Leadership & Legislative Boot Camp to be held May 5-7 in Alexandria Old Town, Va., to learn how to become a successful advocate for the profession.
  8. If you prefer to share your knowledge, put together an outline for a presentation and submit it to NCRA for consideration for the 2019 Convention & Expo. NCRA is always looking for new speakers and interesting topics for its events.
  9. Finally, if you have some unusual work experience, consider whether you can share your experience with other members. Get in touch with the JCR editor in January about telling your story.

Grow your career by presenting at the NCRA Convention & Expo

“What better place to learn from your peers than the 2019 NCRA Convention & Expo,” says Lisa Knight, FAPR, RDR, CRR, who co-chairs the NCRA Education Content Committee. “And if you have something to share that touches on topics related to the court reporting, captioning, or legal video professions, now is the time to let us know your ideas. Whether you are relating something from your experience in the field or have a deep understanding of a topic such as realtime, speedbuilding, ethics, language, technology, or test-taking skills, this is an opportunity to share that you won’t want to miss.”

“Presenting is a great opportunity and platform to share your experiences and knowledge with other working court reporters, captioners, and legal videographers. Our peers make a wonderful, welcoming audience,” says Merilee Johnson, RDR, CRR, CRC, a freelance reporter and CART captioner based in Eden Prairie, Minn., who also co-chairs the NCRA Education Content Committee.  “There’s no better resource than learning from our fellow working reporters and firm owners.”

Knight, who has presented sessions on technology, gadgets, and realtime in the past for national events, says that becoming a presenter changed how she thought about her role in the profession. “I’m a self-proclaimed introvert, and I always thought that the people who were presenting at the events I went to were just naturally confident and just loved being in front of the crowd,” Knight says. “But I had learned so much in the field – about realtime, about marketing myself, and about embracing technology – and my friends were so supportive in pointing this out when I first volunteered to speak. I knew I had to share my knowledge and help everyone in the profession. Presenting at a convention is a wonderful way to share what you know and give back to the profession as a whole.

“What was amazing to me, though, was how much opened up to me after becoming a speaker,” Knight continued. “Speaking in front of such a warm audience, one made of your peers, that is, people who are excited to hear about the nitty-gritty of the jobs and ask questions that really get to the heart of the practice, is such a great affirmation of how important our role is, no matter if you are an official or a freelancer, a captioner or a videographer. It made me want to continue to learn more and be the best I could be.”

Johnson, who has presented sessions on realtime, technology, and captioning in the past for national events, says that becoming a presenter helped her meet new people and make connections that aided her career. Stepping up to be a speaker also boosted her confidence and helped shift her perspective. “It was a wonderful experience for me personally,” Johnson adds. “It helped me grow in ways I did not expect.”

Past presentations have ranged from a review of state and federal regulations, ethics, speedbuilding, marketing, health and wellness, trends in technology, and software training. Even if your idea is not on the list, if it’s for court reporters, captioners, or legal videographers – or students of those professions – we’d love to hear more. The 2019 Convention & Expo will be held Aug. 15-18 in Denver, Colo.

Visit NCRA.org/presentations for more information or to submit a presentation for consideration. Submissions are due by Jan. 9.

It’s a giving time of the year!  Make a difference!

By Sandy Bunch VanderPol

Sandy Bunch VanderPol

When you love something, you want to support it all the time, even if it takes a lot of effort and time. This is how I feel about our profession and the National Court Reporters Foundation, the philanthropic arm of NCRA.  As a Trustee on the NCRF, I have the privilege to serve all of you, as members of NCRA. It is indeed a privilege.

As a freelance reporter and an independent contractor, it has always been in my heart to support the profession I so love. I do this by volunteering my time and by supporting the profession with my financial contributions, and I have benefited greatly from doing this. Financial generosity is an important element in the success of any organization that supports the philanthropic efforts of that organization, and your financial support is necessary to the success of the charitable work of the NCRF.

I would ask all of you to please take a moment to consider making a charitable contribution to NCRF. There is no amount too small or too large. Your contribution will be spent wisely in supporting the many programs of NCRF. Make a difference! The feeling of giving – what a feeling it is!

Thank you in advance for your support. I appreciate it. Oh, and I forgot to mention, your contribution is tax deductible. And if you contribute $1,000, you will be an “NCRF Angel,” which can benefit you through networking and a number of public relations and marketing opportunities.

 

Sandy Bunch VanderPol, FAPR, RMR, CRR, of Lotus, Calif., is an NCRF Trustee and longtime NCRF Angel. Visit www.bit.ly/NCRFYEA to donate to NCRF to support your profession.

Become an expert advocate and leader for your profession

The 2019 NCRA Leadership & Legislative Boot Camp promises to provide attendees with an experience like no other when it comes to learning firsthand the power of advocacy and the influence good leadership can achieve.

The 2019 event is May 5-7. It will include two full days of training, exploration, and hands-on activities designed to give everyone who attends the takeaways necessary to become successful advocates and leaders in the profession at the local, state, and national level. Training will end with role-playing and mock interviews to help prepare attendees for the final day of the event that culminates on the third day with visits with Washington, D.C., lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

The site of the 2019 event is the Embassy Suites by Hilton in historic Old Town Alexandria, Va., just outside of Washington, D.C. Anyone in the court reporting, captioning, or legal videography professions wanting to grow and hone their advocacy and leadership skills should make plans to attend the 2019 NCRA Leadership & Legislative Boot Camp.

Watch the JCR Weekly and JCR magazine for more details and information about registration for this one-of-a-kind event.

Guest speaker opportunity at a community college

NCRA member Penny Wile, RMR, CRR, owner of Penny Wile Court Reporting in Norfolk, Va., has been a court reporter for more than 30 years. Recently she showcased the court reporting and captioning profession to students in a paralegal course taught at her local community college.

By Penny Wile

Penny Wile talks to paralegal students

Approximately three months ago I took the deposition of a risk management specialist for a national chain of stores. It was a run-of-the-mill 30(b)(6) document production deposition stemming from an accident that resulted in a personal injury claim being filed. Plaintiff and defense appeared via video-teleconference, and the witness and I were together at the deposition site.

The deposition took most of the day, and during breaks the witness asked me questions about court reporting. We chatted about my profession and hers. Not only is she a risk management specialist, but she teaches a paralegal course locally, at Tidewater Community College on Thursday evenings.

At the conclusion of the deposition she asked if I would be interested in speaking to her class about court reporting. I eagerly agreed! Anytime I can attempt to recruit others to join the profession, I am happy to help.

We set several dates for me to appear, but there were delays. (Note to self: Don’t plan speaking engagements during hurricane season!)

I reached out to NCRA and asked if they could provide tools for me to use in my talk. I quickly received literature to download and print. The next day I received a box of print media and goodies for the class. I purchased some clear bags with handles and filled them with important information about court reporting:  History, training, career rewards and challenges, in addition to the goodies.

On Nov. 29, I spoke to the classroom of paralegal students. The students were eager to learn about the reporting profession. I started with a once-upon-a-time story of how I entered the profession. It’s not a glamorous story but one that should be told. They appeared to appreciate how I entered the profession. These students work during the day, have family obligations, and attend college at night. They are real people with busy lives trying to receive an education. They asked me many questions and seemed to be engaged. I spoke to them about my work abroad, some of the more rewarding assignments I have covered in my career, some of the unusual assignments I have covered, and gave them court reporting 101 in two hours .

Penny Wile sets up her machine for paralegal students

Two students in particular were very interested in training with the NCRA A to ZTM Program.  They were excited they could “try out” reporting and see if it would be a good fit for them. I provided my contact information and told them I would be happy to help them if they pursued training in the profession.

When my talk wrapped up, I couldn’t believe I had spoken for two hours! I have been invited back to be a guest speaker for the upcoming semester, and I look forward to the opportunity to inform and encourage others to enter the field of court reporting.

You can also read Career Days are great ways to promote the profession.

For more information about career day resources that are available from NCRA, contact pr@ncra.org, or visit the 2019 Court Reporting & Captioning Resource page.